A long waiting glorious past, a storming crisis in the last few years and an earnest attempt to rebuild as a country to be explored... it's all about Afghanistan, the Islamic country located in southern Asia. Most often, tourists overlook the possibility of tourism in Afghanistan, owing to the current political upheavals. But just a closer look and a visitor is sure to find enough places of tourist interest in this ancient country.
Afghanistan, a land-locked country, is well known for its rich Afghan culture and genuine hospitality offered to tourists. The history of this country is supposedly longer than that of any other nation. The cultures from Greek, Buddhist, Bactrian, Parthian and Islamic reigns has blended well with the glorious history of this country. From the rule of the Mughals, the slavery of the British empire, the influence of the US, the control of the Russians, the attack of the Mujahedeens, the tyranny of the Taliban, the take-over of the US army to the present day independent Afghanistan... such a vast and enormous history colored with the blood of innocent victims. This is possibly the reason why Afghanistan has been less explored by tourists. But the innumerable tourist attractions of the country are sure to please the visitors, who can now make a safe trip to independent Afghanistan.
Kabul, one of the oldest cities in central Asia, is the country's capital city and offers a number of tourist attractions like the Bala-Hisar (a citadel), the Kabul Museum, the Gardens of Babur, the mausoleums of the late moghul emperors, the colorful markets offering a good deal in shopping – 'Chicken Street', 'Shor Bazaar' and 'Bazaar-e-Charchata' being the favorite ones on the list. Kabul is well known for it’s beautifully built mosques. Some of the most interesting ones are Masjid-e- IdGa, Masjid-e-PuleKhashti, Masjid-e-Wazir Akbar Khan, Masjid-e-Sherpur and many more to add to the list. Any visitor will return empty-handed without paying a visit to them.
Another city with a rich, ancient history is Kandahar – the second largest city and the former capita of Afghanistan. This city is well known for it's commercial importance and is connected to major cities of the world through airways. Kandahar's most significant place to visit is the 'Da Khera Sharif Ziarat', which beholds the cloak of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). There are a number of other historic places of interest which include tombs, shrines and monuments but the chief tourist attraction of Kandahar is the 'Char Suq' (Four Bazaars), which is well known for its Karkul carpets, precious stones like Lapis Lazuli, exclusive woolen garments, chosen dry fruits and electronic gadgets.
A place where a tourist can experience closeness to the natural beauty bestowed upon Afghanistan is the 'Bamiyan' province. The five crystal blue watered lakes of 'Bande Amir' enchant every visitor and make the trip worthwhile and the two ancient and huge statues of Buddha (35m & 55m tall) which date back to the third and fifth centuries respectively allure the travelers. Visit to the Bamiyan village is the hottest offering in Afghan tourism and is sure to remain nestled in the memories of the visitors. Apart from the above mentioned sites, a traveler can explore the historical provinces of Balkh, Ghazni and Lashkargarh as well.
Afghanistan offers comfortable accommodation in all major cities and treats the visitors with a lavish Afghani cuisine with specialties like 'Palow', 'Kababs' and 'Ashak'. The food parade also satisfies the sweet tooth with wonderful Afghani desserts like 'Firnee', 'Shir-yakh' and 'Baklava'.
The climate in Afghanistan is extremely hot during summers (up to 49 degree centigrade) and the winters are chilling cold (as low as -9 degree centigrade). Since this country lies mostly in the sub arctic mountainous region, both rainfall and snowfall are experienced here between the months of October and April.
In all, travelling in Afghanistan is not a bad deal and tourists can return home more than happy since the initial expectations are very low but as you discover more of this country, you are sure to be delighted at heart.
Afghanistan travel advice can be found on http://www.fco.gov.uk.